We all know probiotics are important for our digestive system however it can be confusing trying to decipher which strains of bacteria may be beneficial for our particular health issues. Practitioners of natural health have for a long time held the belief that probiotics were important when it came to our immune health as well as prevention of allergies.
There have been many clinical studies on prevention of eczema and food allergies by supplementing with probiotics. There are many strains of probiotics and generally we will find a combination of those strains in a probiotic supplement. However, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus has been one of the most researched strains of bacteria especially when it comes to allergies. Since being patented in 1989 there have been numerous studies on this particular strain of bacteria. It is believed Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is effective because it has been found to adhere to the intestinal gut wall extremely well, allowing the body to clear the way for our body’s other friendly bacteria strains to do their work.
The question is often asked – why do we have so many allergies these days? There has been evidence for some time that there may well be a connection between children growing up in germ-free environments (that is western societies obsessed with hygiene) and the huge increase in autoimmune and allergic disease. In fact, it has been noted, children growing up in sterile city and suburban environments are more likely to suffer from allergies than children growing up in a less sterile environment.
It has been suggested taking probiotics mimics the exposure to bacteria. Being exposed to different bacteria appears to settle the immune system, thereby reducing the allergies. Interestingly it’s understood children with allergies have more bad bacteria in their gut and less good bacteria.
When we ingest foods or any other substances, our gut has the ability to establish whether these foods or substances are safe or not. Any substance which is determined to be unsafe by our gut, is attacked by our immune system. To assist the gut in providing some protection from these bad substances the gut also sets up a wall of defense called the ‘mucosal lining’, made up of a mucous layer, gut cells and gut bacteria. Allergic reactions develop when allergens penetrate this wall of defense and invade our blood stream. By taking probiotics to build up that wall of defense with good bacteria, it has been found there is not only a decrease in allergic reactions in the gut and of course food allergies, there is also improvement in other allergies such as eczema, hay fever and in some cases asthma.
It has often been suggested pregnant women taking probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be able to reduce the risk of their child developing eczema. As eczema is said to be one of the first signs of allergy which can quite often then develop into asthma or other allergies, one would think it would be a good idea for most children and adults to be supplementing with a daily probiotic.
It appears Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is one of the most important strains when it comes to treatment and prevention of allergies. Obviously, we need a combination of strains to work together however when it comes to allergies, I would be looking for a combination containing Rhamnosus.
For more information on allergies calla to see Bev and the team at Go Vita your health shop in North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC for Go Get Healthy every Wednesday at 12.30pm.